Written Answers from the Department of Health and Social Care

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (117394):

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help recruit more permanent staff to the NHS and reduce dependence on Agency staff. (117394)

Tabled on: 06 January 2023

Will Quince:

This Government is growing the National Health Service workforce. There are now over 42,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) more staff working in NHS provider trusts and commissioning bodies than October 2021, including almost 4,700 more doctors and over 10,500 more nurses. We are working hard to deliver 50,000 nurses by the end of March 2024 and we are well on the way towards achieving this aim with over 36,000 more nurses working in the NHS now compared with September 2019.

The Government has funded 1,500 more medical school places each year for domestic students in England, a 25% increase over three years. This expansion was completed in September 2020 and has delivered five new medical schools in England. There are currently record numbers of medical students in training.

The Department of Health and Social Care has also commissioned NHS England to develop a long-term workforce plan. The plan will look at the mix and number of staff required across all parts of the country and will set out the actions and reforms that will be needed to reduce supply gaps and improve retention. A temporary workforce market allows the NHS to meet demand fluctuations without the need to increase capacity above that which would be required on a sustained basis. Staff can be drawn from internal staff banks or external agencies.

Measures were introduced in 2015 to control agency spending and include price caps, limiting the amount a trust can pay to an agency for temporary staff, the mandatory use of approved frameworks for procurement, and the requirement for all trusts to stay within the specified Annual Expenditure Ceilings for agency staff. The agency rules outlined were effective in reducing spending on agency staffing by a third between 2015/16 and 2020/21.

The answer was submitted on 12 Jan 2023 at 11:10.


  1. Mark B
    January 14, 2023

    Good morning.

    And how many of those doctors and nureses came from other countries along with their families which will require additional housing, schooling and, whn they get sick and old, care ?

    Has anyone in government ever heard of the Ponzi Scheme and how, in the end, it all pans out ?

    1. Iago
      January 14, 2023

      I imagine that there is little point if you are white British in applying to go to medical school; your application is unlikely to be successful under the diversity discrimination rules being brought to bear in every sphere. And this seems to be happening in lockstep throughout the West. As was said a couple of days ago, the government no longer represents the British people or their interests in any way at all and, if one doubts this, consider its strangling of free speech.

  2. formula57
    January 14, 2023

    So per Minister Quince “There are now over 42,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) more staff …. including almost 4,700 more doctors and over 10,500 more nurses” – and the rest, some 26,800 are what? Much-needed diversity officers?

    1. graham1946
      January 14, 2023

      What is the cap on agency rates? Simply tell them you will not pay more than say 10 percent above NHS rates and they will not exist to tempt staff away from the NHS. Is it fair that a part time nurse, knowing nothing about the ward he/she is working on get paid lots more than the regulars who do the hard stuff day in day out? Same for locum doctors.

    2. Timaction
      January 14, 2023

      Exactly. Clinical staff, not pen pushers!

    3. Ian B
      January 14, 2023

      @formula57 +1

      Exactly! – the extra £80 odd billion ‘given’ to the NHS in the same period had to get spent on something, on anything or it would be lost come the next give away. No one is managing, no on is doing. What a mess, a broken and seemingly corrupt entities run for the sole benefit of its protected upper echelon. To much tinkering around the edges, when it needs starting over to be Customer lead

  3. agricola
    January 14, 2023

    Questions arise from his answers.
    Of the 42,000 new staff minus doctors and nurses (15,200), what are the remaining 26,800. While I can accept that some might be the odd radiographer, physio, or pharmacist, do we need that many diversity managers.

    Reallity is that in 7 years we might get 1500 more home grown doctors. Of the record number of medical students in training, how many are from overseas. Our medical schools should be principally for UK born students, training should be free, and students should contract to the NHS for ten years post graduation.

    What opportunities are there in Parliament to disect answers and come back to the minister or more important his civil servants for clear honest answers. These mandarins should not be able to hide bshind a minister making him look stupid.

  4. DOM
    January 14, 2023

    So 1.7m NHS employees isn’t enough to deliver public health provision? That’s more than the German and French system.

    Someone’s taking the urine out of the public and the taxpayer

    The NHS does not need more staff.

    Don’t listen to the tosh pumped out by politicians who only see the NHS as a political issue

  5. ChrisS
    January 14, 2023

    1. NHS Staffing
    There are 42,000 more full time equivalent staff in 2022 than in 2019.
    This includes 4,700 more Doctors and 10,500 more nurses.
    £700m has been diverted from within the existing budget to sort out bed blocking.

    2. NHS Budget
    The NHS and social care budget has been dramatically increased.
    (Source : The King’s Fund) https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/nhs-budget

    Between 2016/17 and 2022/23 the budget went from £142.2bn to £180.2bn
    The infamous £350m a week, so ridiculed by Remainers, has been greatly exceeded. The actual increase has been more than double the Brexit figure at £769.23m a week !

    The situation clearly needs to be forensically investigated.
    With these figures, it beggars belief that the NHS is now in the state that it is. It has to be mismanagement on a grand scale. As Formula 57 says, the other extra staff, all 26,800 of them, can’t all be Diversity Officers !

    1. hefner
      January 14, 2023

      Difference in budget 180.2-142.2 = 38 bn
      How many weeks between July 2016 and June 2023 = 7 years x 52 weeks = 364 weeks
      Increase per week 38,000 m / 364 = 104.4 m !!!!

      I hope you don’t have to handle too many figures ChrisS, I would not want to be one of your ‘customers’.

  6. forthurst
    January 14, 2023

    “A temporary workforce market allows the NHS to meet demand fluctuations without the need to increase capacity above that which would be required on a sustained basis. Staff can be drawn from internal staff banks or external agencies.”

    Permanent admin staff employing doctors and nurses by the gig as though they were running a supermarket. Time to deep cleanse the NHS of Arts graduate types that infest the administration of hospitals. Sack them all and put the savings into healthcare. Why is every government department full of these drones? Teaching Arts subjects at university is cheap and the students don’t need to be intelligent, however a first world country is such because of the quality of its services and ours are dire because of the useless people in charge.

  7. turboterrier
    January 14, 2023

    Has anyone thought to actually ask the coal face staff : What is best for you,?
    Some like 12 hour shifts as they can go on the bank for a couple of days a week if they have no real family commitments.
    To me having worked in the system small Self Directed Work Teams with proper training are the answer. Problems are sorted very quickly and working ways are continually changing to meet the requirements of the patient.
    Every patient is different so is every doctor or consultants. Rocket science it is not. Every body working to their strengths.

  8. David Paine
    January 14, 2023

    I see there are 42,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) more staff working in NHS provider trusts and commissioning bodies than October 2021, including almost 4,700 more doctors and over 10,500.
    So am I correct in saying that under a third of the new staff are front line medical? Is the NHS taking us for fools?

  9. Enigma
    January 14, 2023

    Dr Malcolm Kendrick explains on his blog how during COVID a number of recently retired doctors were brought back onto the register whether they wanted to be or not, and this has now been extended to 2024 to make it look as though the numbers are going up, even though these doctors are not working.

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